Help! I found a cottontail!

If you find a baby or a juvenile rabbit, it is important to try to determine whether they are still dependent on their parents or if they are good to go on their own.

As always, if they have any obvious injuries, such as a limp or if they were attacked by an animal, it’s best to call The Wildlife Center of Venice.

A good rule of thumb to determine if they are independent:  If they are the size of a tennis ball or larger, alert with ears up and eyes open, they are probably OK; out learning to make it on their own and it is best to keep the family pets away and just let them be.


If they are still dependent on their parents, they will be smaller than a tennis ball, eyes may be closed and their ears may be laid back against their body.  As with songbirds, the best course of action for dependent juveniless is to return them to their nest.

A cottontail’s nest is usually a shallow divot, usually under a plant or a tree with some brush covering it.   The parents will come back for feedings at dawn and dusk.  We advise that you lay an array of small twigs in a criss-cross pattern over the nest.  You can check the nest later to see if the twigs have been disturbed; if it has been disturbed, it is a good sign that the parents have been back for feedings.  If the nest is left undisturbed past the feeding times, it probably needs your help.  Give us a call.